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Porterdale considers extending Friday night drinking hours
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Patrons of Porterdale Bar and Grill could soon see the extension of last call from midnight on Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday.

City Councilman Robert Foxworth (Post 2) made a motion at Monday night's meeting to begin the amendment process for the ordinance pertaining to the hours alcoholic beverages can be served in Porterdale on Friday night.

Foxworth said the extended hours would keep residents' business in the city.

"People get over there and they have a few drinks and they're eating," Foxworth said, "and at 12 o'clock they don't want to go home, and what happens is they pack up and go somewhere else."

Currently, the city of Covington has the same hours for consumption as Porterdale, but bars in Conyers can serve until 2 a.m. Saturday.

David Slicker, co-owner of Porterdale Bar and Grill, bought the bar in February along with his brother-in-law and father. He said extended consumption hours would attract businesses to the city. "It's not just for our business," Slicker said. "It's for anyone who wants to come in here - like the restaurant at the mill."

 The Porterdale Mill Lofts still has a large restaurant space at the front of the building sitting vacant.

Mayor Bobby Hamby said the type of businesses the new ordinance would attract, are the ones the current ordinance was meant to deter.

"The intent of that ordinance was originally for the purpose of bringing in restaurants that the majority of their business is food and if someone wanted to have a drink with their meal they could," Hamby said, "and we said we don't want bar type establishments in Porterdale."

Slicker said his establishment does serve food, hosts open-mic night for local musicians and shows big games on their televisions in addition to serving beer and wine.

He added most of his customers are more responsible and mature than at other establishments in the area.

Assistant Chief of the Porterdale Police Department Douglas Tatum, who was at Monday's meeting to give a department update, said he has never had a disturbance call from Slicker's establishment.

"I've never had a call from there except for a window being broken out before it had opened," Thomas said.

He said he always encounters orderly patrons when conducting his end-of-shift business walk-throughs.

"The clientele you get before midnight is a different crowd than you get after midnight," Hamby said.

Slicker said one of the owners is at the bar and grill every night, and that they and their staff are very vigilant and have stopped serving, called taxis for or personally driven home customers who have had one too many.

"I've actually stood behind a vehicle to keep them from driving out of the parking lot," Slicker said.

Councilman Perry Barnett (Post 3) expressed concerned that not all bar owners would be as responsible as Slicker and that patrons of Covington bars would come to Porterdale after those bars closed. Kay Piper (Post 5) also said she would vote no on any issue involving alcohol.

Despite objections from Barnett and Piper, Foxworth, Mary Johnson (Post 2) and Mike Harper (Post 4) voted to begin the amendment process.

The amended ordinance still would need to have a first and second reading at the Oct. 25 special called meeting and a third reading for final approval in early to mid-November.

Amended language also would eliminate the serving ban on election days, but maintain no alcohol sales on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Porterdale residents will also be able to vote on Sunday beer and wines sales in November and possibly on the allowance of liquor sales in March.

"We want to talk with the city council hopefully making them friendly to these establishments who serve the citizens of the community and bring in more revenue," Slicker said.